New technique allows 3D imaging in unprecedented detail
Shape and structure are often essential to life’s tasks – enzymes with specific shapes fit particular molecules like a lock and key, and zooming out, the patterns of cells in tissues and organs offer clues to health, damage and disease. In this detailed 3D scan of a mouse’s heart, each cardiac muscle fibre is coloured based on its orientation within the organ’s microstructure. Normally, taking such a detailed view inside living tissue requires damaging it in some way. But this heart is stained and quickly frozen preserving its details and allowing a version of micro-computed tomography to build an intact 3D picture. The movie’s virtual slices reveal the location of fibrotic regions (blue) – hardened tissue formed after surgery. In humans, cardiac fibrosis can lead to heart failure so studying similar detailed models may allow researchers to test new approaches and drugs to healing hearts.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.